First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
LONDON: The Nepali Embassy in London marked the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship between Nepal and the United Kingdom in 1923 with a prestigious high-level investment conference held at the opulent Mansion House in the heart of London’s financial district. The event, which took place on Wednesday, brought together a diverse array of participants and dignitaries to discuss and promote investment opportunities in Nepal.
Keynote speaker Finance Minister Prakasharan Mahat emphasized the critical need for substantial financial resources to drive Nepal’s prosperity and economic transformation. He underscored the inevitability of foreign investment, given the limitations of internal resources.
Mahat also highlighted the government’s efforts to create and adapt laws, regulations, and institutional frameworks to foster an investment-friendly environment. This year’s budget includes various reforms aimed at streamlining the investment process, with a focus on mobilizing capital from the international financial market. He expressed optimism about increased investment from the UK in the future.
Nepalese Ambassador to the UK, Gyan Chandra Acharya, outlined Nepal’s priority sectors for investment, including renewable energy, information technology, education, and tourism. He stressed the importance of securing long-term financial investments from London’s financial hub to support Nepal’s development. Acharya also mentioned bilateral agreements with India for electricity trade and plans to export electricity to Bangladesh.
City of London Alderman and Sheriff Bronek Masozada affirmed the City’s commitment to support Nepal’s sustainable development, citing its abundant financial resources and insurance companies capable of managing risks effectively.
The British perspective on Nepal’s investment landscape was also well-represented at the conference. Director of the British Foreign Ministry, Ben Mellor, highlighted the growing British investments in Nepal, particularly through British International Investment, and their role in improving the foreign investment environment.
Birendra Sharma, Chairman of the British Nepal Parliamentary Group in the British Parliament, emphasized the immense potential for investment in various sectors of Nepal, building on the historical ties between the two nations.
UK Export Finance CEO Tim Read announced the readiness to invest up to 1.5 billion pounds in various areas of Nepal, showcasing the UK’s commitment to supporting Nepal’s economic development.
A special focus of the conference was on the renewable energy, information technology, and education sectors of Nepal. Panel discussions featured experts from these sectors, including Rajan Kandel, President of the British College, who highlighted the education opportunities in Nepal.
Nepal Rastra Bank Deputy Governor Bam Bahadur Mishra assured investors of the bank’s commitment to streamline foreign investment approval and the repatriation of foreign companies’ dividends.
Amrit Lamsal, Joint Secretary of Investment Board Nepal, detailed the opportunities for foreign investment in various sectors of Nepal, pledging support throughout the approval and implementation phases.
Sandeep Dev, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation, highlighted Nepal’s energy sector, with a focus on hydropower projects, agreements with India and China for electricity development and purchase, and the government’s ambitious plans for hydropower development.
Chandra Prasad Dhakal, President of the Federation of Nepal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, urged foreign investors to invest confidently in Nepal, given the investment-friendly environment created by the private sector.
Ganesh Karki, Chairman of the Independent Energy Producers Association of Nepal, invited foreign investors to explore opportunities in Nepal’s hydropower and renewable energy sectors, noting the positive role of the Nepalese government.
British International Investment Managing Director Colin Buckley and Dolma Impact Fund Founder and CEO Tim Gocher shared their successful experiences with investments in Nepal, emphasizing the country’s suitability for responsible investments.
Vivek Shrestha, CEO of Invest for Impact Nepal, provided insights on investments from development financial institutions in Nepal.
Furthermore, an agreement was signed between the Government of Nepal Ministry of Finance and six development financial institutions, including British International Investment, UK, FMO, Netherlands, Bio, Belgium, FinFund, Finland, Proparco, France, and Saifem, Switzerland. This agreement aims to facilitate the investment of development financial institutions in Nepal.
In a separate engagement, Finance Minister Mahat discussed investment opportunities with GP Hinduja, Chairman of Hinduja Group of Industries.
Finance Minister Mahat also held discussions with Ann Marie Trevallyan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the British Government. They explored various aspects of Nepal-UK bilateral relations and discussed strategies for attracting foreign investment from Britain. Minister Mahat stressed the need for foreign investment in Nepal, especially in the wake of decreased financial resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also highlighted the UK’s focus on green energy post-COP 26 in Glasgow, emphasizing the potential for investment in this sector. Additionally, he encouraged investments in information technology, education, and tourism.
Despite Nepal’s limited role in causing climate change, Minister Mahat requested further support from the UK government to address the challenges posed by climate change in Nepal. He also discussed outstanding issues related to the former Gurkhas.
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Trevallyan reaffirmed the UK’s commitment as a development partner to Nepal and expressed a positive outlook for increased investment from Britain in Nepal’s priority sectors.
The conference drew approximately 100 participants, including British bankers, private investors, representatives of European development financial institutions, and members of the Nepali Diaspora, underscoring the growing interest in Nepal as an investment destination.
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